Asia Adventures and Study Tours - vacations and travel

Treasures of Turkey - Exploring Asia Minor

Turkey, Asia

Contact provider for price 17 Days Year-round
Luxury accommodations Exertion level: 4
Operator: Asia Adventures and Study Tours 15 people max
  • Ankara airport, turkey
  • Family & Friends trips
Straddling two continents, Europe and Asia, and bordering the Middle East, Turkey has a unique history dating back thousands of years. From the ancient Hittites to the Ottomans, countless civilisations have made Turkey their home, leaving behind them an impressive historical and archeological heritage.

Despite its ancient roots, Turkey is a rapidly developing modern state. Created as the modern successor to the 600-year old Ottoman Empire in 1923, the country was transformed by its first leader Kemal Ataturk. His ambitious goals to transform Turkey into a modern state still conflict with traditionalism and Islam in the present times as the country tries to define itself.

Our trip begins on the Anatolian plateau from where we venture down to the fantastical landscape of Cappadocia and the turquoise waters of the Lycian Coast. Explore the amazingly well-preserved remains of Greco-Roman cities such as Ephesus before ending in Istanbul, the largest and most vibrant of Turkey's cities and one of the world's great metropolises for over 2000 years. Istanbul is a perfect microcosm of the country itself, the modern amenities of a European city alongside fabulous old churches and mosques of an earlier era.

Locations visited/nearby

Turkey, Asia

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.

Itinerary

Day 1 Sat Arrive Ankara
Upon arrival in Ankara, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel.
Welcome dinner.
D Radisson SAS Hotel Ankara

Day 2 Sun Ankara
Ankara, the ancient Ankuwash or Angora, has been the capital of the Turkish Republic since 1923. In the morning we will visit the Museum of Ancient Anatolian Civilizations, the best museum in Turkey for pre-classic exhibits. In the afternoon, we will travel to Gordion, the city of legendary King Midas. Gordion was also the capital of the Phrygian Empire, and the site where Alexander the Great cut the “Gordion Knot”.
B/L/D Radisson SAS Hotel Ankara

Day 3 Mon Ankara/Cappadocia
Today we will travel south to the fascinating region of Cappadocia, stopping en route at the Hittite capital of Hattusas, which dates from 3,000 BC. Highlights include the Great Temple, Lion’s Gate, and the Citadel. At the famous Shrine of Yazilikaya you will see reliefs of 63 gods and goddesses carved on the rock walls. Continue on to Cappadocia, whose unique landscape was created eons ago by volcanic eruptions.
B/L/D Alfina CaveHotel Cappadocia

Day 4 Tue Cappadocia
The unique and fascinating landscape of this area was created thousands of years ago by the effects of weather on the soft “tufa” rock from volcanic eruptions. The composition of the rock allowed the carvings of entire underground cities; we will visit one of these underground cities as well as the Byzantine cave churches here. We will also visit Pasabagi, whose landscape is dotted with the odd-shaped rocks called “fairy chimneys”. According to legend, these stones were inhabited by magical fairies capable of casting spells. We will climb the Uchisar Fortress for a breathtaking view of the Goreme Valley, and explore the Anatolian cities of Urgup, which is known for its kilims and local wine, and Avanos, famous for its pottery.
B/L/D Alfina Cave Hotel Cappadocia

Day 5 Wed Cappadocia/Konya
On the way to Konya we will stop at one of the Selcuk’s Kervansaray (camel palace) to explore Selcuk architecture. We will also visit the world’s first city of Catal Huyuk, which is under excavation now. Continue on to Konya, the city where Mevlana founded the Mevlevi Order of Whirling Dervishes. Our tour of Konya will include a visit to the Museum of Mevlana, perhaps the most important Islamic shrine in Turkey, as well as the Karatay Medresesi with its beautiful display of Selcuk tiles, and the wood and stone Selcuk carvings of Ince Minare Medresesi.
B/L/D Dedeman hotel Konya

Day 6 Thu Konya/Pamukkale
Today we will travel to Antioch in Pisidia to explore the ruins here. This was an ancient city with a diversity of religious backgrounds, chosen by Emperor Augustus to be the second capital in Anatolia. St. Paul also chose it as his centre for proclaiming Christianity to the Anatolians, and we will visit the Church of St. Paul and the Temple of Augustus. We will stop for lunch at lovely Lake Egirdir before heading to Pamukkale.
B/L/D Colossea Hotel

Day 7 Fri Pamukkale
This morning we will explore Pamukkale, ancient Hierapolis, and enjoy the afternoon at leisure at the thermal baths or the outdoor pool. The cliffs of Pamukkale are covered by brilliant white calcium deposits with pools of clear warm water fed by thermal springs, creating a unique and beautiful natural wonder. This site was a famous health spa in Roman times and is still in use today. You can soak in the pools and view the beautiful marble columns, toppled by earthquakes, that lie at the bottom; then explore the ruins of ancient Hierapolis with its theatre, Temple of Apollo, colonnaded street, bath and its extensive necropolis.
B/L/D Colossea Hotel

Day 8 Sat Pamukkale/Antalya
One of the most scenic drives we will take is the route through the beautiful Toros Mountains to the harbour city of Antalya on the Mediterranean, one of the few cities which enjoys an appealing mixture of ancient and modern worlds. En route to Antalya we will visit Aphrodisias, the city of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. This interesting site has very impressive ruins and beautiful marble statuary.
B/L/D Sheraton Hotel Antalya

Day 9 Sun Antalya
In the morning we will visit the ancient sites of Perge and Aspendos, the latter of which has one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in the world. In the afternoon we will tour the Antalya Archaeology Museum, one of the finest museums in Turkey, containing exhibits ranging from the Stone Age to a 6th Century relief of the Angel Gabriel. There will still be time to explore Antalya’s old city quarter where many fine examples of Ottoman architecture are being carefully restored, and walk along the ancient harbour.
B/L/D Sheraton Hotel Antalya

Day 10 Mon Antalya/Kas
Today we will visit the Lycian rock-cut tombs in Myra and the nearby Church of St. Nicholas, where the legend of Santa Claus began. In the afternoon we will take a boat to see the ancient city of Simene and the mysterious sunken city in Kekova Bay. You will see interesting sarcophagi and steps covered by water that once led into homes and ancient buildings. Later drive to Kas for our overnight stay.
B/L/D Habesos Hotel

Day 11 Tue Kas/Fethiye
Continuing along the Mediterranean coast today we will visit Xanthos, once the capital and grandest city of Lycia, which is beautifully situated overlooking the Xanthos River. Our next stop will be Pinara, another important Lycian League city built on top of an impressive red cliff, followed by the ancient city of Tlos. This rather remote site has interesting ruins and a splendid view of the entire Xanthos River Valley.
B/L/D Ecesaray Hotel

Day 12 Wed Fethiye/Bodrum
En route to Bodrum, we will stop en route in Dalyan to view the ancient city of Caunos (the last city of Lycia along the Mediterranean) and the Lycian Temple tombs carved dramatically out of the cliff above the Dalyan River. We will then drive to the seaside town of Bodrum. Known as ancient Halicarnassus, we will stroll the lively harbour on our way to visit the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, which is housed in the Castle of St. Peter. The museum contains many fascinating artefacts and restored shipwrecks that were retrieved from the dangerous waters along the peninsula. We will also visit the Museum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
B/L/D The Marmara Hotel Bodrum

Day 13 Thu Bodrum/Kusadasi
Heading towards Kusadasi we will stop at Euromos to see one of the most beautiful temples of Zeus in existence. After passing by Lake Bafa, we will visit three famous ancient cities, which were once part of the Ionian League: Miletus, the business and cultural centre, Priene, the political centre and Didyma, the religious centre.
B/L/D Korumar Hotel

Day 14 Fri Kusadasi/Istanbul
This morning we will experience one of the great highlights of our Turkish adventure: an exploration of the many intriguing ruins of the once great city of Ephesus, including the beautiful theatre and the Celsus Library. In nearby Selcuk we will tour the Museum of Ephesus where two well-known statues of Artemis are on display. These statues are from the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This exciting day ends with a drive to Izmir airport for the short domestic flight to Istanbul.
B/L/D Sultanahmet Palace Hotel

Day 15 Sat Istanbul
Our hotel in the Sultanahmet district is within walking distance of many wonderful sites. This morning we will walk to the Hippodrome, an arena used for political, cultural, and sports activities during Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman times. We will visit the Blue Mosque, famous for its Iznik blue tiles, and St. Sophia, which has been the largest Christian church in the world for over 1,000 years. Nearby is the Basilica Cistern, or Underground Palace, with its ancient columns surrounded by water. Finally we will visit the legendary Topkapi Palace, home to the Ottoman sultans for over 400 years.
B/L/D Sultanahmet Palace Hotel

Day 16 Sun Istanbul
This morning we will follow the ancient city walls of Istanbul to the Chora Museum, which has the most beautiful mosaics in Turkey. Afterward we will have a Bosphorus ferry cruise between continents, seeing the fabulous palaces and villas that hug the shoreline, followed by a tour of the old and new city, including the Galata region with its impressive tower, and the Pera region with Pera Palace, where the Orient Express ended its famous journey.
B/L/D Sultanahmet Palace Hotel

Day 17 Mon Depart Istanbul
Depart Istanbul today on your return journey home.
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